It takes only two things to keep people in chains:
The ignorance of the oppressed and the treachery of their leaders.
Bill Clinton famously said, “It’s the economy, stupid,” meaning that ultimately, Americans will vote their wallets, with all other issues being secondary.
He was wrong. There is another, more important, though less logical, issue, and if you think about it, you know what it is.
Toward the end of the 1800’s, the Democrats came to control the Southern states, and it wasn’t pretty.
White Democrats began to use strategies you’ll find eerily familiar today. They made the entire voting process much more difficult for poor blacks, including the passage of poll taxes. Though poor whites fell into the same trap, the poll tax was aimed at the blacks.
Poll taxes were “necessary,” because someone had to pay for the cost of elections, right?
And then there were the literacy tests, which were “necessary,” because if you can’t read and write, how can you cast an intelligent vote, right?
And strict, complex residency tests were “necessary,” because if you weren’t a long-time resident, you shouldn’t be telling residents what to do, right? Today, those residency tests have morphed into citizenship tests, the primary purpose of which is as before: To deny anyone of color, the right to vote.
Blacks even were denied the right to be jurors, because they weren’t “qualified,” so every facet of Southern law was tilted against them.
As blacks were denied the vote, they also were denied representation, so all the national Southern votes went to the then dominant party, the Democrats. In the South, there virtually were no Republican Senators, Representatives, Governors, Mayors, Sheriffs, Judges — it was all Democrats all the time. It was known as the “solid South.”
Because Democrats seldom lost Southern elections, the incumbents controlled the gerrymandering that solidified their positions. This gave them seniority, not only in local and state politics, but in the national arena, where Chairmanships of important Congressional committees were held largely by Southerners.
And all of this enormous political power had its beginnings, and its ongoing expansion, with wall-to-wall racial bigotry.
Then, in the late 1940’s, the Democrats began to adopt some measure of morality, and morality would prove to be their undoing in the South.
President Truman desegregated the Army and the Dixiecrat party was formed, the sole purpose of which was to retain segregation and Jim Crow laws. The Dixiecrats nominated Strom Thurman for president, and he won in South Carolina, Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi.
After Democrat Lyndon Johnson passed many civil rights laws, Thurman became a Republican.
And then came Richard Nixon and the “Southern Strategy,” as cynical a political strategy as ever has been devised. Here is the summary of the strategy, in the words of the man who popularized the term, political advisor, Kevin Phillips:
“From now on, the Republicans are never going to get more than 10 to 20 percent of the Negro vote and they don’t need any more than that…but Republicans would be shortsighted if they weakened enforcement of the Voting Rights Act.
“The more Negroes who register as Democrats in the South, the sooner the Negrophobe whites will quit the Democrats and become Republicans.”
“That’s where the votes are. Without that prodding from the blacks, the whites will backslide into their old comfortable arrangement with the local Democrats.”
To appeal to Southern whites, Nixon pushed two philosophies, “law and order” and “states rights,” which remain popular excuses, today.
“Law and order” were the code words that brought into existence the notorious Southern Sheriffs, in the Joe Arpaio mold. The sole purpose had nothing to do with “law” or with “order,” but rather was to keep the blacks frightened and powerless.
“States rights” were the code words used by the Southern states to tell the federal government, “Don’t interfere with our version of bigoted “law and order.”
After Nixon, no Northerner has won the Presidency . . . until our first 1/2 black President, Barack Obama.
And that is the 2nd part of our story.
In his first Presidential election, Obama won 68% of the electoral votes. In his second election, Obama won 62% of the electoral votes.
Both were resounding victories, yet in neither case did he win in any Southern state, except Florida.
Remember the description of the Southern Strategy:
“The more Negroes who register as Democrats in the South, the sooner the Negrophobe whites will quit the Democrats and become Republicans. That’s where the votes are. Without that prodding from the blacks, the whites will backslide into their old comfortable arrangement with the local Democrats.”
Obama proved to be the ultimate “prodding from the blacks.” His black face created terror in the minds of whites who already were predisposed to hate or fear blacks.
Though Obama won his second election (by a much smaller margin than the first), he was a special case of a charismatic, only 1/2 black, great speaker with a terrific election committee, and uncharismatic opponents.
And he was unable to extend his election success to the rest of the Democratic party.
The Democratic Party suffered huge losses at every level during Obama’s West Wing tenure. The grand total: a net loss of 1,042 state and federal Democratic posts, including congressional and state legislative seats. Democratic governorships also became a rarity during this eight-year period, slipping from 28 to 16.
Then came Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump: This essentially was a fact-free election, based solely on emotions.
She, an uncharismatic female, a poor speaker and a with a seemingly clueless election committee. He, a charismatic, male TV star and an excellent speaker who used mass meetings as his “election committee.”
Clinton campaigned on intellectual ideas and on herself: HER experience and HER being able to make history as the first female President and HER inheriting the Obama legacy.
But while the man, Obama, was much loved, at least in most quarters, his legacy was minimal. Ask people today what he accomplished and they might say, “Obamacare,” (to which, in truth, he contributed little. The Democratic Congress did all the work).
Others might include the recovery from the “Great Recession,” and the “worst” ones (from the standpoint of the “Southern Strategy) were the rights he gave to gays and immigrants. These latter, along with his skin color, energized the unfortunately-large bigot community of America.
Trump campaigned on viscerals and you: YOUR fears and YOUR hatreds.
Trump said, “I’m going to protect YOU from blacks, browns, gays, foreigners, Muslims and people who will take away the guns YOU need for your protection.”
Today, the Republicans continue to rely on the “Southern Strategy,” nationally. And it works on a public made frightened.
There was a time when the phrase, “It’s the economy, stupid,” was considered the holy script to election success. But no more. Now, “It’s beware of THEM, and kill THEM,” with “them” including all those who are not white, straight, and citizens.
He is a compulsive liar who has changed his positions on dozens of issues.
Once, being a “flip-flopper” was the formula for public ridicule and political defeat. By that history, Trump should have zero followers. He is a compulsive liar, and there were at least 141 Stances Trump Took During His White House Bid) :
–19 contradictory positions on immigration and his wall,
–4 contradictory positions on undocumented children of immigrants,
–16 positions on banning Muslims,
–5 different positions on H1-B visas (for highly skilled workers),
–4 different positions on border control,
–9 different positions on how to defeat ISIS,
–7 separate positions on gun-free zones,
–2 opposing positions on nuclear first-strike,
–8 different positions on minimum wage,
–7 contradictory positions on tax reduction,
–4 opposing positions on climate change,
–8 different opinions about what to do with the national debt,
–4 opposing opinions about abortion,
–9 different comments about Obama’s citizenship,
–2 opposing comments about voting for the Iraqi war,
–5 different opinions about the Libya intervention,
–2 opposing positions on whether Japan should have nukes
–3 opposing positions about accepting political donations
–3 different opinions about military torture
–3 different comments about his relationship with David Duke
–2 opposing positions regarding the Iran nuclear deal
–5 opposing positions regarding Obamacare (also his vow to sign any R&R law)
–8 different positions about whether the election was “rigged”
–3 different promises about accepting the results of the election
And then there’s this:
Over the course of just one day, President Trump declared different positions than he took during the campaign on four issues.
In an interview with The Wall Street Journal and at a press conference on Wednesday, President Trump declared that China is not a currency manipulator, entertained the possibility of re-appointing Janet Yellen as chair of the Federal Reserve, asserted that NATO is a relevant alliance and expressed a favorable view of the Export-Import Bank.
None of it matters.
The GOP spent seven years and 50+ votes trying to “Repeal & Replace” ACA, without even having a replacement plan, and then in the 8th year, they proposed several replacement plans that would have disenfranchised millions. In years past, this alone would logically have destroyed them as a party. It did not.
In years past, this incompetence alone would have destroyed them as a party. It did not.
Now, the GOP is proposing tax “reform,” that despite denials, undoubtedly will benefit the rich far more than it helps the rest of us. In all likelihood, this disparity will not cost them any seats in Congress.
To the electorate, it’s not the most important issue.
Having no consistent position, and especially no position that benefits 99% of the electorate, logically would prevent the people from aligning themselves with Trump and/or the GOP.
But the electorate is not moved by logic. The GOP politics of fear and hatred, and the adoption of bigotry and a prime directive, has remained consistent. And that is the real GOP power.
For much of the rest of the country, race is a top-three importance issue. For the South, it is the only issue.
Fear and hatred, our hottest emotions, defeat cold truth and logic. Every dictator in history has known this.
No, President Clinton, it isn’t “the economy, stupid.”
It’s fear hatred, stupid.
Rodger Malcolm Mitchell
Twitter: @rodgermitchell; Search #monetarysovereignty
Facebook: Rodger Malcolm Mitchell
The single most important problems in economics involve the excessive income/wealth/power Gaps between the have-mores and the have-less.
Wide Gaps negatively affect poverty, health and longevity, education, housing, law and crime, war, leadership, ownership, bigotry, supply and demand, taxation, GDP, international relations, scientific advancement, the environment, human motivation and well-being, and virtually every other issue in economics.
Implementation of The Ten Steps To Prosperity can narrow the Gaps:
Ten Steps To Prosperity:
1. ELIMINATE FICA (Ten Reasons to Eliminate FICA )
Although the article lists 10 reasons to eliminate FICA, there are two fundamental reasons:
*FICA is the most regressive tax in American history, widening the Gap by punishing the low and middle-income groups, while leaving the rich untouched, and
*The federal government, being Monetarily Sovereign, neither needs nor uses FICA to support Social Security and Medicare.
2. FEDERALLY FUNDED MEDICARE — PARTS A, B & D, PLUS LONG TERM CARE — FOR EVERYONE (H.R. 676, Medicare for All )
This article addresses the questions:
*Does the economy benefit when the rich can afford better health care than can the rest of Americans?
*Aside from improved health care, what are the other economic effects of “Medicare for everyone?”
*How much would it cost taxpayers?
*Who opposes it?”
3. PROVIDE A MONTHLY ECONOMIC BONUS TO EVERY MAN, WOMAN AND CHILD IN AMERICA (similar to Social Security for All) (The JG (Jobs Guarantee) vs the GI (Guaranteed Income) vs the EB (Economic Bonus)) Or institute a reverse income tax.
This article is the fifth in a series about direct financial assistance to Americans:
Why Modern Monetary Theory’s Employer of Last Resort is a bad idea. Sunday, Jan 1 2012
MMT’s Job Guarantee (JG) — “Another crazy, rightwing, Austrian nutjob?” Thursday, Jan 12 2012
Why Modern Monetary Theory’s Jobs Guarantee is like the EU’s euro: A beloved solution to the wrong problem. Tuesday, May 29 2012
“You can’t fire me. I’m on JG” Saturday, Jun 2 2012
Economic growth should include the “bottom” 99.9%, not just the .1%, the only question being, how best to accomplish that. Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) favors giving everyone a job. Monetary Sovereignty (MS) favors giving everyone money. The five articles describe the pros and cons of each approach.
4. FREE EDUCATION (INCLUDING POST-GRAD) FOR EVERYONE Five reasons why we should eliminate school loans
Monetarily non-sovereign State and local governments, despite their limited finances, support grades K-12. That level of education may have been sufficient for a largely agrarian economy, but not for our currently more technical economy that demands greater numbers of highly educated workers.
Because state and local funding is so limited, grades K-12 receive short shrift, especially those schools whose populations come from the lowest economic groups. And college is too costly for most families.
An educated populace benefits a nation, and benefitting the nation is the purpose of the federal government, which has the unlimited ability to pay for K-16 and beyond.
5. SALARY FOR ATTENDING SCHOOL
Even were schooling to be completely free, many young people cannot attend, because they and their families cannot afford to support non-workers. In a foundering boat, everyone needs to bail, and no one can take time off for study.
If a young person’s “job” is to learn and be productive, he/she should be paid to do that job, especially since that job is one of America’s most important.
6. ELIMINATE FEDERAL TAXES ON BUSINESS
Businesses are dollar-transferring machines. They transfer dollars from customers to employees, suppliers, shareholders and the federal government (the later having no use for those dollars). Any tax on businesses reduces the amount going to employees, suppliers and shareholders, which diminishes the economy. Ultimately, all business taxes reduce your personal income.
7. INCREASE THE STANDARD INCOME TAX DEDUCTION, ANNUALLY. (Refer to this.) Federal taxes punish taxpayers and harm the economy. The federal government has no need for those punishing and harmful tax dollars. There are several ways to reduce taxes, and we should evaluate and choose the most progressive approaches.
Cutting FICA and business taxes would be a good early step, as both dramatically affect the 99%. Annual increases in the standard income tax deduction, and a reverse income tax also would provide benefits from the bottom up. Both would narrow the Gap.
8. TAX THE VERY RICH (THE “.1%) MORE, WITH HIGHER PROGRESSIVE TAX RATES ON ALL FORMS OF INCOME. (TROPHIC CASCADE)
There was a time when I argued against increasing anyone’s federal taxes. After all, the federal government has no need for tax dollars, and all taxes reduce Gross Domestic Product, thereby negatively affecting the entire economy, including the 99.9%.
But I have come to realize that narrowing the Gap requires trimming the top. It simply would not be possible to provide the 99.9% with enough benefits to narrow the Gap in any meaningful way. Bill Gates reportedly owns $70 billion. To get to that level, he must have been earning $10 billion a year. Pick any acceptable Gap (1000 to 1?), and the lowest paid American would have to receive $10 million a year. Unreasonable.
9. FEDERAL OWNERSHIP OF ALL BANKS (Click The end of private banking and How should America decide “who-gets-money”?)
Banks have created all the dollars that exist. Even dollars created at the direction of the federal government, actually come into being when banks increase the numbers in checking accounts. This gives the banks enormous financial power, and as we all know, power corrupts — especially when multiplied by a profit motive.
Although the federal government also is powerful and corrupted, it does not suffer from a profit motive, the world’s most corrupting influence.
10. INCREASE FEDERAL SPENDING ON THE MYRIAD INITIATIVES THAT BENEFIT AMERICA’S 99.9% (Federal agencies)Browse the agencies. See how many agencies benefit the lower- and middle-income/wealth/ power groups, by adding dollars to the economy and/or by actions more beneficial to the 99.9% than to the .1%.
Save this reference as your primer to current economics. Sadly, much of the material is not being taught in American schools, which is all the more reason for you to use it.
The Ten Steps will grow the economy, and narrow the income/wealth/power Gap between the rich and you.